Presbyterian minister installed at Tandragee

Pictured, from left, are the Rev Stephen Hibbert, the Rev Dr Ivan Patterson, the Rev Mark McMaw and his wife Heather, the Rev Dr Mark Gray, the  Rev Philip Cleland and Keith Johnston.
Pictured, from left, are the Rev Stephen Hibbert, the Rev Dr Ivan Patterson, the Rev Mark McMaw and his wife Heather, the Rev Dr Mark Gray, the Rev Philip Cleland and Keith Johnston.

The congregation of Tandragee Presbyterian Church began a fresh chapter last Friday night with the ordination and installation of a new minister, the Rev Mark McMaw.

The service in a packed church was conducted by the Rev Dr Mark Gray, moderator of the Iveagh presbytery, and by the Rev Dr Ivan Patterson, Iveagh presbytery clerk.

Also taking part was the Rev Stephen Hibbert, Gilford and Tullylish minister, who was convenor during the Tandragee vacancy.

Among those present was former Tandragee minister the Rev Dr Robin Greer, as well as representatives from other local churches including rector of Ballymore Church of Ireland parish Canon Shane Forster.

Tandragee church choir was conducted by Dr Warren Brown.

Mr McMaw, speaking at morning service on Sunday, said he felt “a strong call” to become a full-time minister after being involved in Christian youth work and various missions through his home church, First Holywood.

His wife Heather has just left a primary school teaching post in Ballyclare, and they are expecting their first baby.

“This has been a wonderful change in our lives,” he said. “I believe God has called me to Tandragee. I have a background in youth, mission and pastoral care, and our aim is the growth of the Christian gospel.”

Keenly interested in sport, he is a long-time Liverpool football supporter, having lived on Merseyside for a time, and also takes an interest in the Ulster rugby team.

Mr McMaw is the eleventh minister of the church, with a congregation having been in existence at Tandragee Presbyterian since 1825.